TV-MA | 4h 41min | Biography, Crime | 08 Jan 2020 (UK) | TV Mini-Series
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82% Fresh (Critics)
Director: Paul Whittington
Writers: Colin Caffell, Carol Ann Lee, Kris Mrksa
Stars: Freddie Fox, Alexa Davies, Mark Addy
IMDb summary: Revolves around the true story of a fateful night in August 1985 when five members of the same family are murdered at an Essex farmhouse, and the ensuing police investigation and the court case that follows.
PLEASE BE AWARE BEFORE YOU READ ON WE ARE NOT SPOILER-FREE. THANK YOU.
They say that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction. Well, that’s what some people believe, and the story behind the killings at White House Farm certainly fits the description. When you couldn’t write a better murder mystery, you know it’s good. The murders at White House Farm happened in 1985, so it’s some time back. But the circumstances behind the murders are the most intriguing part, and that’s what’s so interesting about his show.
To summarise the events of 6/7 August 1985 in Essex; five members of the Bamber and Caffell families were murdered allegedly by the daughter Sheila Caffell. That is the claim that came from the only surviving member of the family, Jeremy Bamber.
Jeremy Bamber is easy on the eye and a manipulating charmer, and he uses these assets well throughout the show. Portrayed amazingly by Freddie Fox, Jeremy Bamber comes off as the type of guy who charms his way around everything and everyone. And he’s convincing until the police get involved in the investigation. The two primary detectives on the case are DCI Thomas ‘Taff’ Jones played by Stephen Graham and DS Stan Jones played by Mark Addy. And it’s DS Stan Jones who persists on investigating Jeremy Bamber well after his DSI has confirmed that the case is open and shut with Sheila as the murderer. The crime is then classified as a “Murder-Suicide”.
Now if I were merely a fly on the wall watching these events take place, I’d be seriously concerned about Jeremy Bamber’s behaviour because it’s just weird. And when it comes to murder, one may not think that behaviour is important when you’re dealing with facts. But it’s his behaviour during and after the investigation with DS Stan Jones scratching that itch he just can’t reach. Something’s off, and it seems to me that DS Stan Jones is one hell of a detective for sniffing it out.
Everything seems to fall apart for Bamber when his jilted girlfriend Julie Mugford is mistreated one time too many. She decides to spill the beans on her boyfriend and reveal the “truth” about what actually happened at White House Farm. And this is the break that DS Stan Jones needs to give his theory about Bamber momentum.
Jeremy Bamber seems to think he is still smarter than the cops and that his ex-girlfriend will eventually cave in after seeing him at the trial and support him. But it was a relief to see he was wrong about that. And as the facts begin to fall into place, you’re just about ready to jump for joy. Watching the wrong person go free is a stressful experience, but it’s exactly what you want in a crime drama.
It’s also nice to see some familiar faces amongst the cast including Mark Addy, Gemma Whelan and Alfie Allen all from Game of Thrones.
How close to the actual events is the show? Well, according to the Wikipedia article about the murders, it’s pretty spot-on, even down to the event where Jeremy Bamber tried to sell nude photos of his dead sister to a newspaper!
This show is top-notch. The actors bring their A-game in every scene, and after having watched many British TV shows like this, there is one thing that continues to stand out: the Brits really know how to do criminal drama. White House Farm is an outstanding TV show with a solid cast and is a must-see, particularly if you’re interested in a mix of crime with your drama.